Woman of the Century/Jane Bancroft Robinson
ROBINSON, Mrs. Jane Bancroft, author and educator, born in West Stockbridge, Mass., 24th December, 1847. She is descended on her mother's side from an old Dutch family of New York City, and on her father's side from early English settlers in New Jersey. Her father, Rev. George C. Bancroft, was for over fifty years a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mrs. Robinson was graduated in 1871 from the Troy seminary for girls, founded by Mrs. Emma Willard. In 1872 she was graduated from the State Normal School in Albany, N. Y., and immediately there-after was appointed preceptress of Fort Edward Collegiate Institute, Port Edward, N. Y., where she remained until 1876. During the years from 1870 to 1876 colleges for women were being established, and the doors of colleges hitherto open only to men were thrown open to women. Urged by her far-sighted mother, she determined to take a college course. While in Fort Edward, she took private lessons in advanced studies, and in the fall of 1876 entered Syracuse University as a member of the senior class, and was graduated from that institution in 1877. Immediately thereafter she was invited to become the dean of the Woman's College of the Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and professor of the French language and literature, a position previously occupied by Miss Franca Willard and Mrs. Ellen Soule Carhart. In addition to the arduous work of the position, she diligently pursued her studies in French history, with a view to taking a higher degree, and she received from Syracuse University, upon examination, the degree of Ph. M. in 1880, and of Ph. D. in 1883. Her thesis for the latter degree was a treatise on the parliament of Paris and other parliaments of France, and the research and study therein displayed won her at once a fine reputation. Many of the JANE BANCROFT ROBINSON. leading historical students in the United States and England sent her appreciative letters. In 1885 she resigned her position in the Northwestern University to pursue historical studies as a fellow of history in Bryn Mawr College. In 1886 she went to Europe, matriculated in the University of Zurich, and remained there one year, devoting herself to the study of political and constitutional history. The following year she went to Paris and became a student in the Sorbonne, continuing her researches in history. She was also received as a student in the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, being the first woman to hear lectures in the literary department of that school. Her stay abroad was diversified by travel and writing. She contributed to various papers and periodicals. Visiting London before her return to the United States, she became deeply interested in the deaconess work as illustrated in different institutions there and studied it carefully. She returned to the United States, convinced that that social and religious movement might prove a great agency in the uplifting of the poor and the degraded of her native land. Her wide information and executive ability were at once pressed into service for developing deaconess work in the United States, where it had already gained a foothold. At the invitation of its officers, she in 1888 took full charge of the department of deaconess work in the Woman's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church She has visited most of the large cities of the United States, speaking in behalf of the deaconess cause, and interesting the women of different Protestant churches by means of parlor meetings and public lectures. She is a logical and fluent speaker as well as a writer of marked talent. In 1889 she published her most important work, entitled " Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for America," which is now in its third edition and is the leading authority in this country upon the subject She is now the secretary of the Bureau for Deaconess Work of the Woman's Home Missionary Society. She is a life member of the American Historical Association and of the American Economic Association. She is connected with many philanthropic and social organizations. In 1891 she became the wife of Hon. George O. Robinson, of Detroit, Mich., widely known in philanthropic and legal circles.